Mumbai Diary: Friday Dossier

The city — sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce

No more blues for Dory
If the kids are yanking your fingers about taking them to watch Finding Dory this weekend, a number of animal groups are warning that watching the film might be okay, but bringing Dory home might be another matter altogether.

Humane Society International, with other groups, warns that a sharp increase in demand of blue tangs could have a severe impact on the species. They are talking from experience. Finding Dory is a sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo, which led to a surge in demand of the wild-caught clownfish.

The sudden mass demand and subsequent capture of millions of clownfish from their homes decimated wild populations. Many consumers were unaware that clownfish were caught from their native reefs at that time, and not bred or raised in captivity.

Now, blue tangs reach 12 inches as adults, and with natural wide-roaming behaviour in the reef, require a minimum tank size of about 700 litres, which is roughly the size of a small sofa and at least three times larger than the average home tank; in Mumbai’s case, we suspect this might be the size of a room in an apartment!

Disney has even appealed to the public to, “Always select appropriate acquacultured fish as a first choice for your home aquarium,” and that “Blue tangs, like Dory, do not make good pets so instead choose appropriate acquacultured fish.”

Designs in Colaba

Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

(Left-right) Shahid Datawala, Shonan Purie Trehan, Sarah Sham, Divya Thakur and Asad Lalljee at a session in a swish Colaba art and design space, where design philosophies and art coolth were discussed in equal measure.

Because Malaika Arora cares
Actor, model and dancer Malaika Arora Khan wants people to sit up and take notice. This time around, it’s not for one of her sizzling item numbers but to show her stand on horse-drawn carriage rides.

The sultry Malaika is part of PETA’s new campaign to call for an end to horse-drawn carriage rides. Shot by Abhay Singh, the campaign has the sultry star in a little more than a black bikini. “I’m adding my voice to PETA’s to ask kind people everywhere to think again before supporting an industry that subjects intelligent horses to slavery”, she said.

“By choosing other forms of transportation, everyone has the power to spare horses the misery of being forced to work past the point of exhaustion.” Incidentally, she had also lent her support against the cruelty in circuses in an earlier campaign for the animal rights organisation. Let’s hope that such starry support will help push this cause to its logical, practical end.

Oh dear mantris
Oh, dear. It was funny till it came to this. Writer and satirist Varun Grover had recently said in a show that given the current political environment, there is not much need for fiction in humour; every day of political news has matter for explosive laughter.

Smriti Irani. Pic/AFP
Smriti Irani. Pic/AFP

The Twitter spat between Union Minister of Human Resource Development, Smriti Irani and Bihar minister Dr Ashok Choudhary was well within the desperate laughter, recently named LMAO. The minister had addressed Irani with a ‘dear’ in his tweet placed structurally as written in letters but Irani considered a woman being addressed thus as unacceptable.

Thus began the spat. Even as we were pondering about all the gender-less “dears” we have written thus far, and wondering if it would come back to bite, Irani had unleashed the writer in her. This was followed by a long Facebook post.

She speaks of how she wasn’t asked to talk back to men who accosted her, about not attending parties as an actress and about patriarchy. All this before listing her work till now, which of course, needs to be analysed. But we are left wondering if such notes from ministers on issues like this weaken patriarchy or strengthen it.

Let’s celebrate CST’s UNESCO tag
Twelve years ago, on July 7, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus was conferred with the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Site status. This year, in what will come as welcome news to the city’s history and heritage buffs, and just about anyone who is proud of this iconic railway terminus, Central Railway has decided to launch week-long celebrations to commemorate the honour.

A police constable watches over a lit CST. Pic/Bipin Kokate
A police constable watches over a lit CST. Pic/Bipin Kokate

From heritage walks and painting competitions for school children to a quiz and seminars, the authorities seem to be in overdrive to ensure that the landmark get its place in the sun for an entire week. It’s a start, nevertheless. We’d love to see the buzz continue beyond the week, and in full steam (pun intended entirely).

Spot size 17
To use the phrase, ‘Swims like a fish’ makes complete sense when we refer to this Olympic swimming superstar. Australian Ian Thorpe was in Mumbai for an event last evening as a run-up to the Rio Olympics. It’s a documented fact that his shoe size is an astonishing 17 (though he insisted on correcting this diarist saying that it was size 16).

Pic/Bipin Kokate

Often described as “flipper-like”, his feet were a huge asset throughout his record-breaking career in the pool. Ah, and in case you haven’t spotted Thorpe in the frame, he’s the third from the right.

Remembering Orlando in song
Last evening, Queer Azaadi, the folks behind Mumbai Pride, organised a Vigil for Love event at Azad Maidan. As Rainbow Voices sang We Shall Over Come and Hum Honge Kamiyab, there was pin-drop silence all around the section of the ground.

Rainbow Voices at the event
Rainbow Voices at the event

The gathering saw over 100 Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people assemble at the venue to pay tribute to the victims of the Orlando shooting earlier this week. In fact, this diarist noticed how India’s first LGBT choir managed to draw in even other protestors at the ground to stand up and listen.

“Rainbow Voices sang in total harmony that we wanted them to continue singing. As it was a somber occasion, people did not ask for encores, but the singing was divine,” confessed Ameet P, a member of the community.

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